Thursday, 26 July 2012

A good day for a yellow shirt & team work

Sunday 22nd - The Flagg Challenge.

A 50 mile Bike ride from our hospice through the Peak District to Flagg and back, to raise money. The hospice I work for needs to raise 2.7 Million pounds a year on top of local health funding. It provides care for people across the whole of North Derbyshire, at home, or in the inpatient unit as well as a beautiful day centre.

So on a very Sunny Sunday, my little man, his Dad, and 2 other 'lads & their dad's' donned their yellow team shirts & peddled for pounds - along with another 59 cyclists willing to go the miles.

At 11 he was the youngest cyclist, for what was an adult aimed event. It wasn't an easy ride, taking in some of the White Peaks as well as popular spots such as Chatsworth House. The atmosphere was fantastic - as with any group of cyclists there was an air of competition, but also the sense that this was something special. There were people cycling for loved ones, others to support a local charity.

To say I was proud was an underestimation of how I felt. So many people have supported him in fundraising, people I have never met have given generously. Friend's, family & colleagues all wishing him to do well. There was a whole lot of love going on.  For me it was also the knowledge that at 11 years he realises he can give, it may not always be easy, but he can make a difference, even now. That life isn't always about him, it's about a mindfulness and awareness of others needs. He gave honestly & simply. That's a big thing in my book of life.

They started as a team of 6 and finished as a team, one of the youngsters struggled, but the togetherness was the deal, and it is sportsmanship at its best. It's not the first time I've seen these growing boys work as a team, there was a moment on a tour in June where one cyclist rather than lap his team mate, put his arm out and pushed him across the line. Giving.

  (at the start, before the Sheldon climb....)

To relax after there was the obligatory post match de-brief & barbecue, where the fellow mums & wives joined us. As well as bikes....

And celebrations as we watched the final stages of the Tour de France…...
Yellow shirts & team work.


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Camper Jam 2012 aka Mud Fest

If anyone would have told me 10 years ago I would be going to Camper Jam - I would have laughed, rolled my eyes & said I gave up camping when I left Guides....

Last Friday I put my new found long distance driving skills to good use, and drove myself and the Little Miss to a Hotel (*) near Weston Park, where Camper am 2012 was being held. Letting the boys set up camp in Brightside.

We are ladies who like to stay in style.... (Not quite ready to get under canvas)

I think the conversation went along the lines of... 'Yes Daddy the Hotel is very nice, I've put the bar of soap in my bag already - Hello Big Brother, its nice & warm here, how about you in the camper??? Wahhahhhhaahaaaa!'

Saturday saw us arrive to fields of Campers, horror stories of vans being towed on & off the pitches due to the wet ground, and claims of a good nights sleep & barbecued gammon for breakfast.... 

Wake up Brightside, surely it wasn't that bad???

Under skies that could not decide whether to shine or rain, we walked through the fields of fellow campers

To the display area. 

Matching Tear Drop Trailer anyone???

Little Miss - Oh yes please, I like the flowery bedding....

Grey Camper anyone?

Me - Oh, please please please - It matches the front door
G - Eyes Roll......

There was a red Split selling Olive's & Italian Lemonade

A stall with the loveliest name....

And all sorts of collectables to add to your Camper, some more interesting than others....

And then the heavens opened....

I felt sorry for the traders & the visitors.... The land was a washout, people couldn't get to the stalls safely & stock was getting damaged. It was as close to Glastonbury as I will ever get....

As soon as there was a break in the rain it was back to Brightside to dry off.  Lo and behold a miracle occurred (2 actually), the sun started to shine again, we opened the sun roof, and G washed up!

Sibling Love - Part One
Look cute whilst strangling Big Brother

Sibling Love - Part Two
Attempt to post Little Sister up through Sun Roof (I think she may have found some dirt...)

What happens when you bounce in a Camper

Sadly the rain & mud put paid to the Sunday Day visitors, after the event organisers were told by the Land owners that they would not allow any more people in, as the grass would need to recover for a big music festival in 4 weeks....

It was such a shame as so many people had gone to a lot of trouble, travelling hundreds of miles, looking forward to what is usually the biggest VW event in the country. I left on Saturday evening with Little Miss, but G said here was a really good feel to the evening events....

Yet despite the mud & rain (& dodgy toilets) it was a really event, if you have one near you, its worth taking the children, there is always a good family feel, everyone is welcoming, and lots to look at and do, stories told, info to be swapped.

The 11 year old's T shirt says it all - OCD Obsessive Camper Disorder - I tell you, it's contagious. Would you like me to tell you the story of why & how Mr Brightside became our bus? He is now very special to us (especially G).

(*) Hotel was free on G's travel points, a plus side to having a husband who is away a lot (oh, & a bed all to ones self...)

ps. Do you like the Puck Caravan?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Facing The Fear

So this weekend I drove to Northumberland on my own with the small people.

:: I drove. On my own. To Northumberland::

This is mahoosive. This was Girl Power. This was me Facing the Fear.

Anybody who knows me would tell you I am happy to pootle around country lanes, villages & our small town. I can drive on the M1 - 2 junctions, 3 roundabouts to IKEA - 3 junctions & 2 roundabouts to my bestest friends house. Ask me to drive to Sheffield, Derby or any where else & I go into meltdown. Total meltdown, even with the aid of a sat nav, I am a bag of nerves. 

:: The sort of nerves that see me drive down a tramline route. The wrong way. In Sheffield ::

So I must have been overtired, deluded or hormonal when I decided to drive to a family christening 

:: On my own. To Northumberland::


The 11 year old reassures me that he will help me follow the route. Quite how Pokemon Battles helped, other than to keep him quiet I do not know - although there is something utterly heartwarming watching
him hug his beloved Eye-ore all the way there & back. (On reflection, it have been silent, fear induced Eye-ore holding ) He's on the threshold of teenage hormones & angst, but still young in so many ways.

In the back the 8 year old was also suitably entertained.

Just over 3 hours later we arrived. One stop at Wetherby. In one piece. No arguments or shouty mummy moments. One call to G to say I couldn't find the Holiday Inn (someone put trees in front on purpose to make it hard for me)

I then managed to get to my brothers house (4 roundabouts, 2 right, 2 left turns) for a pre-christening bonding session. Before returning to the hotel (actually I went back to his house by accident first, someone moved the roads round when I wasn't looking).

Smalls occupied. Me occupied. All in control.


After an interesting nights sleep (the 8 year old talks in her sleep, & pinches - rather too well as I found out). We awoke & got ready for breakfast. 40 minutes later, one Ribeana spill down the only clean blouse a certain 8 year old had, face soap, trouser press, hairdryer & borrowed iron we finally made it. 

My brother is lucky enough to live a very short drive away from the sea. 10 whole minutes away. You may feel my jealousy as I type this (in a sisterly way). 

Oh I have beach envy. Serious beach envy. The call of the sea is something I cannot resist.Especially when he is already there with his eldest little one.

Now she just rocks - as only a 2 year old can. Utterly beautiful. Enchanting with her chatter. Totally adored by the 11 year old. I even said to my brother that I couldn't believe he could make such a beautiful child (in a sisterly way)

And this hour, with the children, on the beach, in the fresh air, paddling in the water, gathering, digging, playing. 

It made Facing the Fear worthwhile. 

Precious moments, made all the greater, knowing that 

:: I drove. On my own. To Northumberland::

If I did it once, I can do it again. That my little ones may be able to grow up seeing more of their cousins than I thought they would. If I can manage this drive, and two children, an overnight stay on my own, where else could I go? that thought is empowering.

My beautiful girl gathered me jet black pebbles from the beach. They will go in a jar. To remind me

:: I drove. On my own. To Northumberland::

I swear, I'm almost. Fearless. Well a little bit less than I was.... 


(& the Christening was just Perfect)